Does suppressing negative emotion impair subsequent emotions? Two experience sampling studies

  • Yan RuanEmail author
  • Harry T. Reis
  • Wojciech Zareba
  • Richard D. Lane
Original Paper


Suppression is one of the most commonly studied emotion-regulation strategies and a variety of studies have shown that suppression of emotions is associated with adverse affective outcomes. Most of the evidence for this conclusion comes from laboratory manipulations in which people enact experimentally induced suppression or from survey-based recollections. In the present pair of studies (468 participants total), we used real-time experience sampling data to examine the effect of naturally occurring suppression of negative emotion at one moment on subsequent reports of both negative and positive emotion. Results demonstrated that suppression led to later increases in both high-activation and low-activation negative emotions, over and above the level of negative emotion being suppressed. These findings add ecologically valid support to the growing body of evidence showing that emotional suppression is not only an ineffective emotion-regulation strategy, but also a costly one.


Emotion suppression Experience sampling Emotion regulation Negative affect 



This research was funded by RO1 HL68764 and RO1 HL103692 from the National Institutes of Health.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of RochesterRochesterUSA
  2. 2.University of ArizonaTucsonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Clinical and Social Sciences in PsychologyThe University of RochesterRochesterUSA

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